in El Salvador, where its two largest street gangs – “Calle 18″ and “Mara Salvatrucha” – have reached an unprecedented truce that authorities say has cut the homicide rate in half in just four months.
The relentless tit-for-tat murders between the two gangs made El Salvador the most murderous in the world last year after neighbouring Honduras, also ravaged by gang violence.

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Policemen escort gang members of MS13 in Soyapango. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A gang member of MS13 is presented to the media in Soyapango. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Police officers are seen during a presentation of MS13 gang members in Soyapango. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A policeman places handcuffs on a MS13 gang member after being presented to the media in Soyapango. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Policeman places handcuffs on MS13 gang members after being presented to the media in Soyapango. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Policemen escort gang members as they are presented to the media in Soyapango. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Hooded gang members carry sacks with weapons to be handed over to authorities, as part of a truce between gangs in San Salvador. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Army chaplain Colindres speaks next to Insulza, secretary general of the OAS, in front of weapons handed over by gang members as part of a truce between gangs in San Salvador. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Inmate who is a gang member takes an improvised shower at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang members and inmates pose for a photograph at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Lock with a number engraved hangs on a gate separating areas between female and male inmates at a prison in Quetzaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Star with a bible verse reading Lord, give me strength, Isaiah 41:13 is pinned on a needle in male inmates area of a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Couple both gang members and inmates kiss during a religious service at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang member who is also an inmate flashes his gang's sign as he poses for a picture in a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang member who is also an inmate flashes his gang's sign as he poses for a picture in a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang member who is also an inmate stands inside a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang members who are also inmates boil water at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang member gets a haircut from a fellow inmate at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang member looks into a broken piece of mirror while getting a haircut by a fellow inmate at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang members who are also inmates pose for a photograph at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang member who is also an inmate holds a wooden cross he was given along with an image of the Virgin Mary during a religious service at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Couple both gang members and inmates share a moment during a religious service at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Victor Garcia alias The Duck from Calle 18 gang sits with his wife and daughter during a religious service at a prison in Quezaltepeque. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang receives communion from a priest at the prison of Ciudad Barrios. STRINGER/REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A member of the Mara Salvatrucha listens to priest at the prison of Ciudad Barrios. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang gather together at the prison of Ciudad Barrios. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A member of the 18th Street gang poses for a photo at the prison of Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Army Chaplain Colindres shakes hands with a member of the 18th Street gang during a mass at the prison of Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Members of the 18th Street gang attend a mass at the prison of Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A member of the 18th Street gang attends a mass at the prison of Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Army Chaplain Colindres conducts a mass for members of the 18th Street gang at the prison of Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A noticeboard with pictures of a portion of the 620 members of the 18th Street gang held at the prison of Izalco is seen. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Members of the 18th Street gang attend a mass at the prison of Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Members of the gang Mara 18 stand in a prison in Izalco. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Inmates who are members of a gang, stand inside the jail in Quetzaltepeque. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

Gang members walk inside the prison in Quetzaltepeque. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A gang member and inmate stands behind the bars of a cell at the jail in Quetzaltepeque. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A hooded police officer stands near gang members inside the jail in Quetzaltepeque. STRINGER /REUTERS

El Salvador Gangs Call Truce

A gang member and inmate poses for a photograph inside the jail in Quetzaltepeque. STRINGER /REUTERS

Jul 27, 2012